SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [11th April] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [11th April] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]


1. Added priority has been accorded to West Asia in India’s foreign policy. Do you agree? Analyse the geostrategic and economic significance of the region for India. What initiatives have been taken recently to impart momentum to India’s ties with West Asia?


Introduction (should cover 1st part of the question)

In the era of growing multi-polarity, the role of global leadership assumes a surreal bliss. India, a nation in progress has to strengthen its leadership with more integration in globalised world and to tackle upcoming trade challenges from TPP, China’s OBOR etc, therefore increased presence, trade and strategic relationship is must. In this regard India’s Look West Policy and its added priority seem imperative in India’s Foreign Policy.

Geostrategic Significance (should contain some of the following points)

  • Strategic position: West Asia is an area strategically situated at the junction of the three continents of Asia, Europe and Africa. This is important for India to extend its outreach and trade ties (connectivity) with these regions.
  • To check terrorism: West Asia is a politically fragile region and have countries majorly affected by terrorism. So if India wants to prevent flow of terrorism towards itself, especially when ISIS has grown to such prominence and poses imminent threat, India must engage with West Asian countries.
  • Internal and External Security: Through Iran, India plans to develop Afghanistan into a peaceful and prosperous nation. Also West Asian partners’ support is crucial to check Islamic State threat.
  • Efforts of resettlement and re-alignment by West Asian countries and India’s promotion to democracy demand their engagement.
  • Cultural aspects: India, being the second largest Muslim population in the world, can gain more on cultural fronts which can provide more connection with the region.


Economic Significance (should contain some of the following points)

  • Energy security: This region has one of the world’s largest reserves of oil and natural gas and is the largest exporter of these to India.
  • Remittances: Around 7 million Indian expatriates working in this region send 65 per cent of the $57 billion that India receives every year in inward remittances, which forms a chunk of forex reserves.
  • Supply of defense equipment (Saudi Arabia and Israel) and demand for Indian products like jewellery and precious stones in West Asian market.
  • Opportunity for India companies: This region provide great opportunities for Indian companies to use their expertise and establish industries, specially infrastructural projects, consultancy services and Information Technology, education and health care etc there.
  • Source of Capital: Countries such as UAE and Saudi Arabia are capital surplus countries and India badly needs capital investments to develop its infrastructure and industry.

Recent Initiatives

  • UAE has agreed to setup oil reserves in Vishakhapatnam and Mangaluru India providing India 2/3rd oil for free.
  • India has moved forward in elevating its strategic engagement in the areas of terrorism , defence , cyber security with Saudi Arabia, UAE recently.
  • Engagements with Israel on the defence front, water efficiency front, education have seen a new vigor.
  • Revival of trade relationships with Iran and signing of several MoUs with nations like Bahrain, Oman, etc.
  • Agreement with Iran for development of the Farzad-B gas field, export of Iran’s crude and oil products to India, and enhanced cooperation in the fields of petrochemical industry.
  • Recent removal of Iran sanction has has given impetus take forward development of Chabahar port, development of gas field and cooperation in petrochemical industry.
  • Project MAUSAM to recreate historical cultural ties across Indian oceanic countries.


With focus on West Asia and its importance this region holds, India has to explore options beyond bilateral relations. India’s bid for a place as a permanent member of the UN Security Council holds a significance too. Working in this regard India should have no fear of surmounting the pinnacle.


Best answer: Sahil Garg

West Asian Region is becoming increasingly important in Indian foreign policy. From a mere engagement on two fronts of oil and concerns for its natives working in west Asia, the Indian horizon and engagement towards looking at west Asia has widened in Current years. This has been necessitated by:

  1. Growing concerns for energy security
  2. Extremely volatile situation in West Asia, due to terrorist groups.
  3. Slowly turning multi polar world and other nations engagment with West Asian Region.

The region holds for geostrategic and economic significance for India.


(1) Engagement with Iran (via Chabahar port) will provide access to Central Asian Regions and Russia via the International North South Corridor. It will reduce India’s dependence on Pakistan to trade with Afghanistan. Also it will provide a counter to Chinese investment in Gwadar Port in Pakistan.

(2) India has a huge diaspora working in West Asia, and augmenting turmoil necessitates geostrategic engagement in West Asia to provide security and evacuation at critical times.


(1) India’s current dependence on West Asia for its energy security needs in oil, petroleum is still more than 70% . Capture of oil fields by terrorist organisations, depleting oil reserves, the needs of economic development necessitate engagement in this.

(2) India gets huge remittances from its diaspora working in West Asian Nations.

(3) Relation with Israel on the import on defence equipments, agricultural irrigation add to the economic significance.

Recently , many initiatives have been taken to augment engagement in west Asian nations.

  1. UAE has agreed to setup oil reserves in Vishakhapatnam and Mangaluru India providing India 2/3rd oil for free.
  2. India has moved forward in elevating its strategic engagement in the areas of terrorism , defence , cyber security with Saudi Arabia, UAE recently.
  3. Chabahar port proposal has been cleared by the government.
  4. Engagements with Israel on the defence front, water efficiency front, education have seen a new vigor.

Thus, Indian engagement with West Asia is meeting the changing needs of the time, moving from mere oil and remittances to a complete geostrategic and economic partnership

2. There is an urgent need to envisage and formulate a National Security Policy for India. Why? Examine.


  1. Porous international boundaries, growing terror threats, increasing insurgency within country etc. demand government to envisage and formulate a National Security Policy for India. The lack of skilled manpower, technology with security agencies coupled with lack of coordination accentuates the need for a fool-proof policy.
  2. 5 key areas in draft National Security Policy that Shyam Saran, former chairman of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), has prepared and handed over to the Narendra Modi government in January 2015:

–Domestic security

–External security

–Military preparedness

–Economic security

–Ecological security.

The final issue of overarching importance that this draft document raises is “strategic communication”.


(1) Geo-political: India is located is located in a geo-politically unstable region & surrounded by the hostile neighbours such as China, Pakistan. So, NSP is needed to protect our homeland in case of hostility.

2) Cross Border Terrorism: In view of recent terror attacks due to cross-border infiltration. Ex: Gurudaspur, Udhampur & Pathankot attacks.

3) Cross-Border firing: In view of increased cease-fire violation, there is need for clear state response.

4) Critical Infrastructure: To protect strategic bases like Nuclear Installations, Army/Navy/Air force bases % strategic research institutes like DRDO, ISRO etc.

5) Accountability of Security forces & Agencies: In areas like J&K, North-Eastern region to keep vigil on human rights violation by security forces & agencies.

6) China’s Influence: NSP is needed to counter China’s influence in Indian Ocean Region & our neighbours that can pose strategic challenge & security threat to India.

7) Super Power: Ehen India aspires to become a global super power; it must have a clearly defined NSP.


Way forward:

1) Bureaucratic red-tapism and corruption ailing the system should be eliminated. Qualified and honest officers should be posted at critical posts and assignments.

(2) Commissioning of required battalions should be carried on as swiftly as possible. Ex. There is lack of army personnel in Arunachal Pradesh on China border.

(3) Provisions for infrastructure development like robust border roads, better facilities for soldiers in rough terrain like Siachen need to be planned.

(4) Defence procurement policies should encourage quality rather than quantity. National private firms should be encouraged.


Such a policy will bring into picture a holistic framework taking into account all the stakeholders- forces, intelligence apparatus, govt, bureaucracy and the general public. All they can act in coordination when needed which is often not seen in face of security crisis that leads to condition being further deteriorated. The soul of such a policy must remain minimising the response time ensuring minimum damage and maximising the usage of available of resources to their maximum potential to protect the nation with the best of their abilities.

Best answer: The Credible Hulk

India is one of the most promising democracies in the world today and a National Security Doctrine is needed to ensure the protection and maintenance of the resources – be them human or other physical ones – to achieve that.

Moreover, there are other driving factors for the same –

– India lives in a competitive and somewhat hostile neighbourhood. A NSP will act as a reference strategy document of planning and execution lest we are caught unaware in times of crisis.

– The recent Pathankot attacks have brought out in open the vulnerability and lack of centrally coordinated policy while dealing with such situations.

– Detail the strategy to deal with externally originated challenges like terrorism, hostage crises, etc.

– Shall also envisage how to deal with internal disruptions like insurgencies, riots, etc.

There is a lot to gain from such an endeavour –

– Will act as a uniting guiding manual for a plethora of security agencies in India like RAW, IB, NIA, etc.

– Will be independent of political regime change and hence, maintaining consistency.

– Will prevent politically expedient and hastily thought decision making in critical times.

All the strong nations have such a vision document as part of their defence establishments and it is time for India to get one too for a coherent and strong defence policy.

Following articles can be read:

3. India has been and should remain an embodiment of multiple nations. In fact in India, unity coexists with diversity rather than the rhetoric of unity in diversity. Critically examine. Substantiate your analysis with suitable examples.

  • Intro:

The term nation is a social concept often used to designate a cultural-political community characterized by autonomy, unity and some particular features.

  • Body:
  • Unity in diversity: i.e, unity strengthening diversity.
  1. Language: though India has 22 officially recognized languages and hundreds of dialects, every Indian likes Bollywood movies which are in Hindi, we appreciate and enjoy Bhojpuri dialogues, Punjabi music in movies which are in Hindi, many Indians are polyglots, diversity in language enriches their knowledge
  2. Religions: India is home to many religions, and sects, yet we celebrate each other’s festivals with equal enthusiasm. Many Hindus participate in Urs of Muslim saints and many Muslims take part in Durgapuja and Diwali and Holi, and both of them eat Christmas cake in church.
  3. Cultures: India is home to varied cultures cutting across language and religious lines, these cultural differences help us appreciating the differences and becoming more accommodative and tolerant.
  4. Dances: India has many dance forms which have originated in different parts of the country, yet all the dance forms have contributed in uniting the country e.g. south Indians enjoying Garbha and Bhangra and north Indians enjoying Bharatnatyam Similar problems faced by different groups, the restrictions on temple entry for Hindu women and on tomb entry for Muslim women in Haji-Ali Dargah show that, however diverse these groups may be the problems faced are similar.
  • Unity co-existing with diversity:

India is nation of nations, this can be seen in the following contexts.

  1. Political: constitution of India provides special statuses to J&K and NE states, and we have seen demands for separate independent states from NE states, Khalistan etc., this acknowledges the fact that instead of being one nation we are aggregation of nations, the same constitution provides special privileges to Scheduled Areas , this shows our constitution wants to give equal voice politically to every disparate group
  2. Religious: India has 6 major religions and numerous sects, all these religions follow different beliefs and practices. A thing which is acceptable to one religion may be utterly repulsive to another religion. These has at times led to riots, arson etc. yet we also see fusion of these groups at times of natural disasters where humanity takes precedence over religious affiliations.
  3. Ethnicity: India has as many ethnicities as the leaves in a tree, these ethnic groups have different cultures, different ways of lives which are at odds sometimes, yet these groups have learnt to resolve these differences to certain degree by dialogue and communication, others have taken up arms to further their demands.
  4. The diversity among states is especially pronounced when sharing natural resources, like water. The governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Punjab are fighting court battles for sharing river water, this clearly shows that regional preferences take priority over national interests.
  5. Language: many south Indians are apprehensive of Hindi being pushed onto them, they are vehemently against such imposition, they love their regional languages and want to conserve and enrich their local languages.
  • Conclusion:

Briefly write your opinion and conclude.

Best answer: DK

The United States is often called a ‘melting pot’, where people from diverse nationalities, ethnicities and religions can enter, but their differences melt away in the pursuit of the ‘American dream’.

India on the other hand, is often characterised as a ‘patchwork quilt’ where varied ethnicities are joined together in a whole, but with the original uniqueness of each intact. This can be seen in the following examples:

  • Each state in India is different in terms of language, dietary preferences and festivals. While beef consumption may be banned in Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal can continue to allow the same to be served.
  • Mechanisms like Article 370 and 371 provide for greater autonomy and flexibilities to states in their internal matters.
  • The Constitution provides for protecting sub regional identities as well through the 5th and 6th schedules that give special protection to tribal populations.
  • In contrast to strict separation between church and state (as followed in much of Europe), Indian secularism strives to provide equal protection to all religions and entailing practices, while formally not allying itself with a particular religion.
  • States can decide their own official language but the Constitution mandates that they provide for education in the vernacular medium to linguistic minority groups as well.

Positives of following such an approach include-

  • Allows for expression of group identities of people without violent conflict or secessionism. For example, Mizos, originally a part of Assam, were allowed to form a separate state of Mizoram-quelling the hitherto violent uprising led by Laldenga. Similarly, the flexibility in deciding a ‘national’ language ensured that ‘Dravidistan’ need not become a reality.
  • Helps people have a stake in the nation-state, thus preventing disaffection. For example, the low migration of Indian Muslims to join the ISIS is seen as a success of Indian multi-culturalism.
  • Helps protect indigenous cultures and practices as well as traditional knowledge.

Critics point out that such an approach undermines national unity and integrity. Unscrupulous politicians can often use public sentiments to promote hatred against other groups and separatism. While true, this is a risk all democracies have to take. Moreover, separatism is often a response to the attempt to impose homogenous practices on people-this can be seen from Tamil insurgency in Sri Lanka, Muslim disaffection with the French notion of secularism, Saudi Arabia/ Iraqi imposition of a certain type of Islam or even the lack of recognition to different tribes-Naga, Mizo, Bodo etc. as being distinct from the Assamese in India. Moreover, the examples of Mizoram and the southern states mentioned above show that the flexibility in the Indian Constitution help resolve these feelings, rather than cause them.

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